Home News Number of Texas Latino voters climbed 29 percent in 2016, records show

Number of Texas Latino voters climbed 29 percent in 2016, records show

February 14, 2017 at 11:35 am 11 News

Nearly 30 percent more Texas Latinos went to the polls in 2016 than in 2012, reducing the participation gap with other Texas voters and signaling to some observers that elections will become increasingly competitive in the Lone Star State.

Non-Latino voters increased by a more modest 9.2 percent between presidential elections, according to newly released numbers from the Texas Legislative Council.

The percentage of registered Latinos who went to the polls also increased over 2012, from 47.2 percent to 49.8 percent. But that turnout rate remained well below that of non-Latino voters, which was 62.9 percent in 2016. That represented a decrease from 2012 when turnout was 65.4 percent among non-Latino voters.

As a result, the share of the electorate with a Spanish surname increased from 17.2 percent in 2012 to 19.4 percent in 2016. Latinos make up 38 percent of the Texas population, but historically vote at lower rates than Latinos in other states and other groups in Texas.

Texas Democrats, who don’t hold a single statewide seat, have long awaited a voter surge among Latinos that could break the grip of the Republicans on elected positions in the state.

Rice University political scientist Mark Jones called the increase “notable, but not dramatic,” and said it mirrored jumps in past presidential elections.

“The Texas electorate becomes more Latino and less Anglo with every passing electoral cycle,” Jones said. “But the increase is fueled primarily by natural demographic trends rather than by a dramatic spike in participation rates among Latinos.”

State officials obtained the numbers using using a count based on a list of Spanish surnames; the numbers do not account for every Latino voter.

Groups that advocate for greater Latino political participation were heartened by the numbers, which confirmed trends seen during early voting and in pre-election polling.

“I think it shows there’s a transition happening in Texas,” said Matt Barreto, co-founder of the polling and research firm Latino Decisions. “Latino voters in Texas are becoming more engaged … That’s a huge amount of movement in four years.” Barretto said a continuation of the trend could further reduce the distance between Republican and Democrat presidential candidates in the state.

President Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton 52 percent to 43 percent in Texas, compared to former Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s 16-point victory over President Barack Obama in 2012.

“It gets it closer to battleground state status,” Barreto said.

According to an analysis of early voting figures in 20 large counties, Derek Ryan, a political consultant and former research director of the Texas Republican Party, found that new voters are driving the increase in Latino participation: 18.7 percent of ballots cast by voters with Spanish surnames came from those with no electoral history in Texas; for non-Latinos, only 12.8 percent came from new voters.

Voter registration among Latinos also increased 20 percent over 2012 compared to 14 percent for non-Latinos. Lydia Camarillo, vice president of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, said the registration and turnout numbers for 2016 elections are higher than her group anticipated, but said Texas remains a state that puts high barriers to voter registration.

Camarillo said her group is pushing for legislative changes that would make registering easier: one bill, sponsored by Austin Democrat Celia Israel, would allow Texans to register to vote online, as more than 30 other states already do. Another bill would allow voters to register on election day.

In 2013, a bill allowing online voter registration passed the Texas Senate but not the House; in 2015 a similar bi-partisan bill died after objections from Harris County officials who said it would open up the voter registration system to fraud.

“When we ask potential voters why they didn’t register, they say it’s not because they didn’t care, but that in most cases they don’t start paying attention to elections until about ten days out,” Camarillo said. Texas law requires voters to register 30 days before an election.

Camarillo said it’s not yet clear if confusion over the state’s Voter ID law, which was the subject of a pre-election lawsuit, dampened the Latino vote.

Latino turnout in Central Texas slightly outpaced the state average: Travis County saw an increase of 33 percent; Hays County 34 percent; and Williamson County 37 percent.


(c)2017 Austin American-Statesman, Texas

Visit Austin American-Statesman, Texas at www.statesman.com

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Number of Texas Latino voters climbed 29 percent in 2016, records show, 1.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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  1. usafoldsarge
    usafoldsarge February 14, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    For you TEXICANS, those who thought James Michner’s Novel was just that and didn’t bother to read it. Read it now and see what happened to your state in just 32 years. His book was published in 1985. In another 10-15 years, the map of Mexico may drastically change………

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 14, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      If you are gonna reference a novel, at least LIST ITS title…

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    • dad February 15, 2017 at 9:30 am

      Hispanic voters are at best 25% of the total registered voters. In Texas, 7 of 10 eligible voters (population as a whole) will register. Numbers could change considering illegal voters.

      The state of Texas currently has the nation’s second largest Hispanic population, with more than 3.8 million eligible Hispanic voters. An estimated 44% of Latinos in Texas are eligible to vote. Only about 48 percent of eligible Hispanics vote, but nearly 80 percent of registered Hispanics go to the ballot box.

      Recent data confirms that the majority of eligible Hispanic voters in Texas are considerably young. About 3 out of 10 Hispanic eligible voters are between the ages of 18 to 29. 

      I should complete the logic and math for those of you who were educated after 1985. The short answer is only illegal voting is a problem. If the govt wants to claim 11 million illegals, that means that there are more likely 22 million or more.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 15, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      So let me get this straight, 45% or so of latinos living in Texas are eligible to vote, and only HALF of them even DO go out and vote, yet 80% of latinos were seen at the ballots.. IF that isn’t proof of voter fraud (allowing NON-registered people to vote) then what the flip??

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  2. Mimmi
    Mimmi February 14, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Let’s just hope that this Latinos are truly legally here.

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    • columba February 14, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      Probably a lot of them aren’t here legally. Note that there’s also a campaign under way to make registering easier — online registration, election day registration, motor-voter registration, and so on. Whatever makes it hardest to check credentials or keep ringers from voting. This tells us something about what kinds of “Latinos” they’re talking about.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 14, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      And you can bet that since this IS IN austin, that democrat cesspool in the heart of Texas, that no one IS checking for whether these latinos are legal or illegally here.. OR whether they are legally allowed to vote…

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    • dad February 15, 2017 at 9:41 am

      Well, Trump is checking now.

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  3. ShortStuff February 14, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    It’s time to audit the voter registrations. We need to clean out all the dead voters, dual (or multi) voters, and illegal alien voters. Then submit the illegals to ICE for deportation, and prosecute those the vote multiple times.

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  4. notw February 14, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    E verify, national free ID far all AMERICANS ,assimilate, deport and tha,tha,tha,thats all all folks. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!

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  5. lisabm February 15, 2017 at 4:30 am

    They need to do something soon or Texas will be like Calif. where the whites are the minority and mexicans becoming the majority. I wonder how greatful the mexicans will be when they vote into office their own people and how they will treat the whites and blacks. Stupid pelosi & other liberals want them to come in and vote for them but they are too dumb to realize when the become the majority they will vote the whites & blacks out. It will backfire in their face. DUH!
    The guys that fought in the Alamo would be turning over in their grave in knowing that they fought to win for nothing. Mexicans will takeover without putting up a fight. ASK AN AMERICAN INDIAN ABOUT IMMIGRATION!!!! We’ll be on a reservation like them.

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